Westport, NY, Sep 14, 2009 — Almost, Maine is running at the Depot Theatre in Westport through September 20. Resident theatre critic Connie Meng was at the opening night and has our review.
All eighteen characters, ten men and nine women, are played by four accomplished actors: Kent Burnham, Kristin Johansen, Paul C. Kelly and Caroline Treadwell. All four are the kind of actors who, when they walk onstage, the audience immediately likes, and the characters in this play are nothing if not likeable.
It's hard to pick out favorites as all the scenes are very good, but Kristin Johansen is terrific in "Seeing the Thing," as are Caroline Treadwell and Paul C. Kelly in "Where It Went." Kent Burnham and Miss Treadwell both give strong performances in the poignant and touching "Story of Hope." Mr. Kelly and Mr. Burnham are both hilarious in "They Fell," one of my all-time favorite pieces of off-beat humor.
Director Chris Clavelli has also designed a simple set with snow banks backed by a dark cyc that features a scattering of stars. A few pieces of furniture indicate location changes. Iain Whitecross has done a fine job with the lighting, especially the Northern Lights.
Jean Brookman's costumes are very good. It's interesting to see how many layers are needed to ride a snowmobile. The woman sitting next to me was laughing so hard she had to wipe her eyes. By the way, whoever's helping the actors with the very nippy costume and set changes deserves a curtain call!
Mr. Clavelli has done a really nice job of staging and directing ALMOST, MAINE, and has made some great music choices. Most importantly, he and his cast have made these quirky characters thoroughly believable. They made me hope that maybe somewhere in the world there IS a repairman who can fix broken hearts.
On a scale of one to five the Depot Theatre production of ALMOST, MAINE gets five box cars and a caboose. For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.